There are many different breeds that make excellent hunting dogs, but not all are classified specifically as hunting dogs. Hounds hunt small game such as jackrabbits, raccoons, and other smaller animals that live in thickets and underbrush. Not all hounds hunt solely with scent, as some use their keen eyesight (sight hounds) too.
Gun dogs are another common category of hunting dog. Remember, not all hunting dogs are gun dogs. Gun dogs are primarily used by hunters who hunt with shotguns, mainly those hunting for various types of fowl. They encompass retrievers, pointers, setters, and spaniels usually. Terriers and feists are also types of gun dogs and have been known to squeeze into rabbit holes and other hideouts to chase out game. Curs are larger hunting dogs and are able to hunt bigger game, such as cougars.
There are numerous diverse breeds of gun dogs. They are outstanding dogs when you are in the hunt for those to retrieve or even chase game. Each breed has unique abilities and personalities. A brief breakdown of these abilities and personalities:
Not only are retrievers fantastic family pets, but they are also a first-rate option as hunting dogs. They are first-rate swimmers and are fond of the water. If you are aiming to hunt duck or other birds by the water, you should select a retriever, as he will have no difficulty seizing birds, whether on land or in the water. Retrievers also learn the command “fetch” simpler than nearly all other dogs, as their innate instinct is to retrieve things.
A few spaniels enjoy water, but their ability lies in finding game that hides in thick cover. They are like retrievers in that they then bring the game back to you. Cocker spaniels are particularly good family pets, but also fantastic hunters. English springer spaniels and cocker spaniels are two of the most common spaniel breeds used for hunting, although field spaniels are also growing in popularity. Spaniels can be used to chase game out of hiding and retrieve it on land and water alike.
Pointers, such as the German shorthaired pointer, discover the prey for the hunter and point at it, thus their name. This breed will traverse a much larger region than spaniels, but are dependent on the hunter to draw out the quarry.
Setters, reminiscent of pointers, will discover and point at prey, but will also smell out the prey on command. Setters, such as English setters, are talented at tracking upland birds. However, as hunting dogs, they are generally used more in England and Ireland than in America.
When we hear the word “poodle,” we often think of a lap dog with a convoluted hair-do. However, the poodle is a sort of retriever that enjoys the water and is, in theory, a hunting dog. Big traditional poodles are superior dogs to use for hunting when hunting close to the water. Different from other hunting dogs, poodles have actual hair in place of fur and must be clipped every so often. An odd aside: they are excellent hunting dogs for those with dog allergies.
The type of dog that is right for you depends mostly on what kind of prey you are hunting. Plan for this ahead of time, so that when you go on your hunt you have the correct expectations of the dog. Recognizing what your dog is able to do will help out when you train him to be the most excellent hunting dog he knows how to be.